Slovenia Personal Names

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Understanding customs used in surnames and given names can help you identify your ancestors in records. Learn to recognize name variations and see clues in names.

Online Tools[edit | edit source]

Surnames[edit | edit source]

  • Slovenian names follow the pattern:
  • personal name(s) + family name
  • e.g. Jozef ZADRAVEČ
  • Many Slovenian family names end in -ič / -eč.
  • Married women typically adopt their husband’s family name:
  • e.g. if Marja Ana BOZIČ married Jozef ZADRAVEČ, she would become Marja Ana ZADRAVEČ.[1]

Types of Surnames[edit | edit source]

Surnames can be classified into one of 5 categories: given name, occupational name, location name, nickname and ornamental name.

  • Given names are the simplest of the 5 where the surname is derived from a parent’s given name.
  • Occupational surnames are those derived from the occupation of a person. Well known Slovenian “occupational” surnames would be Šoštar; shoemaker (or any of its transformations, Šuštar, Šušter), Zupan; mayor or žagar; sawer.
  • Location based surnames are very commonly used in the household name but these are surnames derived from where people came from or lived. Some well known Slovenian “location” surnames would be Kastelic; from a castle, Horvat; Croatian or Hribar; from the hill.
  • Nickname surnames are surnames derived from a person’s nickname which would have typically been derived from a person’s appearance, temperament or personality.
  • Ornamental names were typically names which adopted (or were forced to adopt) surnames in the 18th and 19th centuries. Evidence shows that surnames existed in Slovenia already in the 16th century so these typically do not exist here. They were much more typical in Jewish families and those from Scandinavia.[2]

Regional Differences[edit | edit source]

Slovenes have a great variety of surnames, most of them differentiated according to region.

  • Surnames ending in -ič are by far less frequent than among Croats and Serbs. There are typically Slovenian surnames ending in -ič, such as Blažič, Stanič, Marušič.
  • Many Slovenian surnames, especially in the Slovenian Littoral, end in -čič (Gregorčič, Kocijančič, Miklavčič, etc.), which is uncommon for other South Slavic peoples (except the neighboring Croats, e.g. Kovačić, Jelačić, Kranjčić, etc.).
  • On the other hand, surname endings in -ski and -ov are rare, they can denote a noble origin (especially for the -ski, if it completes a toponym) or a foreign (mostly Czech) origin.
  • One of the most typical Slovene surname endings is -nik (Rupnik, Pučnik, Plečnik, Pogačnik, Podobnik) and other used surname endings are -lin (Pavlin, Mehlin, Ahlin, Ferlin), -ar (Mlakar, Ravnikar, Smrekar Tisnikar) and -lj (Rugelj, Pucelj, Bagatelj, Bricelj).
  • Many Slovenian surnames are linked to Medieval rural settlement patterns. Surnames like Novak (literally, "the new one") or Hribar (from hrib, hill) were given to the peasants settled in newly established farms, usually in high mountains.
  • Peasant families were also named according to the owner of the land which they cultivated: thus, the surname Kralj (King) or Cesar (Emperor) was given to those working on royal estates, Škof (Bishop) or Vidmar to those working on ecclesiastical lands, etc.
  • Many Slovenian surnames are named after animals (Medved – bear, Volk, Vovk or Vouk – wolf, Golob – pigeon, Strnad – yellowhammer, Orel – eagle, Lisjak – fox, or Zajec – rabbit, etc.) or plants Pšenica – wheat, Slak – bindweed, Hrast – oak, etc.
  • Many are named after neighbouring peoples: Horvat, Hrovat, or Hrovatin (Croat), Furlan (Friulian), Nemec (German), Lah (Italian), Vogrin, Vogrič or Vogrinčič (Hungarian), Vošnjak (Bosnian), Čeh (Czech), Turk (Turk), or different Slovene regions: Kranjc, Kranjec or Krajnc (from Carniola), Kraševec (from the Kras), Korošec (from Carinthia), Kočevar or Hočevar (from the Gottschee county).[3]

Given Names[edit | edit source]

Personal male and female names in Slovenia are quite easy to distinguish. A simple rule says that female names usually end with an -a and male names with a consonant. Still, there are some exceptions:

  • Nives, Ines, Karmen, Iris, Kim and Karin are female names ending with a consonant.
  • Mitja, Luka, Žiga, Jaka, Miha, Bine, Nino, Marko, Anže, Jože, Jure, Drago and Samo are some of male names ending with a vowel.


Names which follow an unwritten rule:

  • male names ending to consonant: Martin, Erik, Aleksander, Peter, Nik, Boris, Tomaž.
  • female names ending to -a: Teja, Tina, Manca, Katarina, Darja, Kaja.[4]

Popular Names[edit | edit source]

Feminine:

Bogdana, Branka, Cvetka, Danica, Draga, Dragica, Dunja, Janina, Jasna, Ljuba, Ljubica, Milena, Milica, Mira, Morana, Mora, Nada, Neda, Nedeljka, Neva, Nevenka, Slava, Slavica, Spomenka, Stanislava, Stana, Stanka, Svetlana, Vedrana, Vera, Vesna, Vlasta, Vojka, Zdenka, Zdravka, Zlatka, Zora, Zorica, Zorka, Zvonka, Živa

Masculine:

Bogdan, Boris, Borut, Bojan, Božidar, Božo, Branko, Ciril, Cvetko, Črtomir, Dejan, Dragan, Drago, Dragotin, Dušan, Gojmir, Gorazd, Gregor, Jaroslav, Kresnik, Lado, Milan, Miran, Mirko, Miroslav, Miško, Perun, Radivoj, Rajko, Srečko, Slavko, Stanislav, Stanko, Stane, Vekoslav, Venceslav, Vitan, Vitomir, Vladimir, Vlado, Vojteh, Zdenko, Zdravko, Zoran, Žarko, Željko, Živko[5]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

FamilySearch Library[edit | edit source]

Additional sources are listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. *A GUIDE TO NAMES AND NAMING PRACTICES, UK Names Guide
  2. "Surnames in Slovenia", http://gfamilytree.com/history/the-places-we-come-from/surnames-in-slovenia/, accessed 8 March 2021.
  3. "Surnames by country", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surnames_by_country#Slovenia, accessed 8 March 2021.
  4. "First Names in Slovenia", by Valentina Zupan, at Learn Slovenian Online, https://blog.learnslovenianonline.com/2013/11/first-names-in-slovenia/, accesed 8 March 2021.
  5. "Slavic names", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavic_names#In_Slovenia, accessed 8 March 2021.